Retired SSA Gamba started her career in Boston working narcotics, and believe it or not, she executed her first arrest in heels! She worked healthcare fraud for six years, before moving to New York City in April of 2001. She was working the USS Cole bombing, when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened. Ms. Gamba was handpicked to be part of the 25-person team who would move to Washington, D.C. to work the 9/11 investigation. In addition, she was part of the team who prepared questions for the team interrogating Khaled Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the architect behind the 9/11 attacks. Ms. Gamba was the lead Agent investigating an American al-Qaeda operative, who was the next in line to carry out another attack. After successfully running this lead, Ms. Gamba ascended the ranks. She worked at FBI’s Headquarters for the Office of International Operations and later became the Assistant to Deputy Director John Pistole; she also worked as a field Supervisor in Chicago. Ms. Gamba concluded her career in the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) as an FBI Profiler.
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be an FBI profiler? Are you fascinated by the show Criminal Minds? Tune in on 7/12 to listen to Nidia Gamba, retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent to hear what it's like to be a profiler in the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU).
SSA Claudia takes us through her journey from growing up in California and seeing her parents work hard so she could have a better future, to attending university and being recruited by the Bureau. She tells us her story about becoming an Intelligence Analyst and later changing her career to Special Agent and becoming a Supervisory Special Agent. Claudia joined the Bureau in 2011, as an Intelligence Analyst and after four years of working public corruption in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she applied to become a Special Agent. Upon graduating from Quantico, she worked MS-13 cases and became a firearms instructor, the latter while still being on probation! Her success has lead her to being promoted to SSA to the Joint Terrorism Task Force in San Juan. Claudia describes to us her career aspirations, and what has been the most rewarding and which the most challenging experiences, while in the Bureau. She also gets real when giving advice to aspiring young women and she talks about how rock climbing helps her find balance.
SSA Claudia out on the range - Listen to her episode to learn how she makes firearms, which was a weakness for her at the Academy, one of her greatest strengths!
Retired SSA Tracy Bradford joined the Federal of Investigation (FBI) in April 1995. After new agent training, she joined the Atlanta Field Office as a special agent where she investigated violent crimes and matters of national security. She also worked the 1996 Olympics and covered leads related to the Centennial Olympic Park bombing. During her assignment in Atlanta, she went to the FBI's rigorous undercover school and served in undercover roles. Ms. Bradford later moved to the Houston Field Office, where she served as the Crisis Management Coordinator - a role which occasionally took her overseas to provide crisis training to international partners. Ms. Bradford also served in the Cleveland Field Office as a Senior Supervisory Special Agent, where she led the Youngstown Resident Agency (RA) and was responsible for all national security, administrative, and operational functions of the RA. At various times during her career, Ms. Bradford served in leadership roles in the Domestic Terrorism Operations Unit, the Director’s Research Group, Leadership Development Program, Human Resources Division, and the Information and Technology Branch (ITB). Ms. Bradford also served overseas as Acting Assistant Legal Attache in Lagos, Pretoria, and Baghdad. In November 2017, Ms. Bradford retired from the FBI as Special Assistant to the Executive Assistant Director, ITB. But, she returned shortly thereafter, to the FBI as a consultant to the Finance and Facilities Division, Huntsville Project Management Office, and the Leadership Program Instructions Unit. In 2020, Ms. Bradford served as an Instructor, Basic Field Training Course, where she remained, until July 2022.
SSA Bradford on working undercover
"I always try to look beyond that. I try to see a challenge as an opportunity. I felt I was always embraced... The way we carry ourselves, our attitudes, that drives the way other people treat you... our attitudes carry us along way."
Retired SSA Marella Ruelas was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from the University of Texas at El Paso, Master of Education from Sul Ross State University, and a Master of Military Studies from the U.S. Marine Corps University. Marella is a retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent with 32 years of federal government service. Marella worked for the Department of Defense for five years as training specialist and trained with Marines in the Hawk Air Missile System. She was an FBI Special Agent for 23 years, and was assigned to San Francisco, Puerto Rico, and McAllen, Texas. Marella worked law enforcement border corruption and successfully led several operations. Marella was promoted to Supervisory Special Agent and worked in several divisions to include Counterterrorism, International Operations, Training, and the Director’s Office. Marella retired in 2018, but returned to the FBI Academy as an instructor providing the Basic Field Training Course (BFTC) to FBI New Agent Trainees until 2023. Before her position as an FBI Agent, Marella was an elementary school special education teacher for three years and a school therapist for two years.
SSA Marella Ruelas on the benefits of working for the FBI
Retired SSA Michelle Pickens has worked for the FBI for 24 years. Although she is retired, she continues to instruct at the FBI Academy. She is a core instructor, teaching New Agent Trainees the Basic Field Training Course (BFTC). Michelle joined the Bureau in 1999 after having worked for the IRS as an investigator. Her first office was Phoenix, followed by Salt Lake City. Throughout her tenure, Michelle worked Public Corruption. In 2013, Michelle became a Supervisory Special Agent of the Public Corruption squad in Salt Lake City and transferred to the FBI Academy in 2020, where she continues to serve. At Quantico, Michelle truly enjoys mentoring and empowering women Agent Trainees.
SSA Michelle Pickens on what's important to succeed at Quantico
Retired SSA Zorka Martinovich has 30 years of public service, 22 of which were devoted to the FBI. Zorka was born and raised in Chicago, IL and at a young age exhibited and had an affinity for being influential and the power of persuasion. Zorka has a BA in Psychology from Eastern Illinois University and a MS in Industrial Relations/Dispute Resolution from Loyola University, Chicago. She worked for the Department of Labor for nine years as a Compliance Officer. In addition to her investigative duties, Zorka represented federal employees as a union steward and labor negotiator where she developed her skills of influence and persuasion which was foundational to her success as an FBI negotiator. She began her FBI service as a Special Agent in the Milwaukee Division where she worked white collar crime matters, and where she was selected to serve on the Crisis Negotiation Unit's Critical Incident Negotiation Team. Zorka attended various training, domestically and internationally, to become a hostage negotiator and was selected as a Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit at Headquarters. Her operational experience to safely resolve 100+ hostage, kidnap and crisis negotiation matters domestically and internationally earned her the status of subject matter expert. She was recognized by the White House in their National Performance Review for her collaborative approach to dispute resolution. Zorka is also undercover certified.
SSA Zorka Martinovich on training programs that prepare you to become a hostage/crisis negotiator